Cool Ethan
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Cool Ethan

Band Pop Punk

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Cool Ethan — Songs For Your Self Esteem
By Ryan Snyder
YES! Weekly
Wednesday February 18, 2009

It’s becoming easier by the day to tear down nearly the entire pop-punk musical stratum. The formula is as cold and stale as a Starbucks bagel; get your band a name with a clever reference obvious to only the hippest among us, devise a two-part castrato vocal harmony (bonus points for a faux-British accent) built around a twin rhythm guitar attack and write songs with the depth of a kiddie pool. But once in a while, even the most strident critic can be swayed on the cerebral level by just the right combination of melody and verve, even if it flies against their better judgment. Songs For Your Self Esteem, the debut EP by Chapel Hill-based band Cool Ethan (there’s your obscure reference), begrudgingly does just that for me. As much as I want to dislike all things pop-punk, I find myself semi-beguiled by this plucky young act’s music. That doesn’t mean I’m going to run out and pick up the Ataris’ entire discography, far from it actually. But there is a certain charm and appeal that emanates from Cool Ethan (www.myspace.com/coolethanmusic) and though it might just be filed under “personal guilty pleasure,” the music is layered, thoughtful and remarkably well produced. The album has everything you’d look for in great pop music — captivating lyricism, honey-soaked hooks and bouncy instrumentation — though they don’t always come together on the same track. “Let’s Get Down to Business” is a highly notable exception, however, as you’ll be immediately reeled by the powerful guitar intro and incessantly catchy chorus. Songs For Your Self Esteem doesn’t necessarily transcend the work of their peers, but it’s nearly devoid of the wallowing hipster pretention that defines more notable acts and that warrants a thumbs-up by itself. - YES! Weekly (Greensboro, NC)


Discography

Songs For Your Self-Esteem (EP) 2009
Small Town Records Compilation 2009
Live From Chair City 2009

"The Homecoming Game" from Songs For Your Self-Esteem has had approximately 10,000 ringtone downloads (Myxer.com) and 15,000+ online downloads. (wal-mart.com/music and amazon mp3 combined).

The album was nationally released in the digital format and had featured marketing on iTunes, Amazon Mp3, Rhapsody, Wal-Mart.com, Borders.com, and Shockhound.com. Songs from the EP have also been included in two very exclusive Rhapsody campaigns with Calvin Klein and US Cellular, beating out several hundred other submissions from major label artists for inclusion.

A physical format of "Songs" is available at shows and through direct sales.

Photos

Bio

Chapel Hill-based Cool Ethan formed in State College, Pennsylvania while swimming in a sea of cover bands and college bars. After refining their live show and building a following, the band headed south for the warmer climate and venues of North Carolina.

When chief songwriter and guitarist Sean Spollen was diagnosed with tinnitus and hearing loss in his left ear in late 2007, the young band’s future quickly became uncertain. As Spollen took a hiatus from playing live, the band’s original bass player also departed to focus on another project. Things suddenly seemed bleak, but Spollen, singer Bart Hipp, and drummer Jim Logrando, weren’t ready to give up yet.

After auditioning a range of local musicians and experimenting with a few short-lived line-ups, Cool Ethan added lead guitarist Tyler Drake, a fellow Pennsylvania transplant attending Duke University. The band continued to play local shows, with Hipp taking over the rhythm guitar duties, as they tightened up their live set and worked on new material. Using sound-muffling drum pads and acoustic guitars for low-volume practices, Spollen continued to be an integral part of the songwriting process from off the stage. The band worked hard, progressed, and solidified their rhythm section by bringing in bassist Jay Lowe, a long-time friend of the band who had recently graduated college and was ready to commit to the project.

In the summer of 2008, Cool Ethan entered the studio to record their debut EP, Songs For Your Self-Esteem. Tracked and mixed at Last Chance Studio in Durham, NC by Canon O’Briant, the EP showcases the band’s progressive pop-punk sound, fusing driving drums and guitars with catchy hooks and plenty of vocal harmonies. Mastered by Derron Nuhfer of Less Than Jake, the EP’s five songs glisten with thoughtful lyrics and melodies that listeners won’t easily forget. From the tasteful percussion loops of “Relapse” to the epic final track, “The Homecoming Game,” Cool Ethan pushes the boundaries of pop-punk, while maintaining the energy and attitude of the genre.
As Songs For Your Self-Esteem was being mixed and mastered, Spollen had enough of sitting on the sidelines. Equipped with custom hearing protection and a “you only live once” attitude, Spollen rejoined Cool Ethan on stage in October, bringing with him the extra energy and additional vocal harmonies needed to take the band’s live show to the next level.

Armed with an expansive fan base and a brand new EP, Cool Ethan is poised to make their mark on the world. Judging from the band’s touring plans and catalog of new songs in the works, you should expect to see big things from Cool Ethan in 2009.